Does Medicare Cover Covid Tests?
- Medicare Part B and Medicare Advantage cover COVID-19 testing, though there are coverage limits and potential cost requirements. Learn how COVID-19 tests are covered by your Medicare plan.
Older adults are at a higher risk of developing severe symptoms from COVID-19. Medicare fully covers COVID-19 tests, though the cost and coverage limitations may change in the coming year.
In this guide, we review how Medicare pays for COVID-19 testing and where Medicare beneficiaries can find free COVID tests in person or by mail.
*Medicare coverage of COVID-19 testing is in accordance with the status of the public health emergency that was implemented for the COVID-19 pandemic. President Joe Biden informed Congress he’ll end the national health emergency addressing COVID-19 on May 11, 2023, which may change how Medicare pays for COVID-19 tests and treatment.
Does Medicare Cover COVID-19 Lab Tests?
Yes, Medicare Part B and all Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plans cover lab tests designed to detect COVID-19. Coverage includes lab tests administered at a laboratory, hospital, pharmacy or doctor’s office and may even include testing performed at drive-up testing centers in parking lots.
Medicare covers PCR testing and antigen tests through a lab if your doctor orders them, at no cost to you.
Does Medicare Cover At-Home COVID-19 Tests?
Yes, Medicare COVID test kits are covered by Part B and all Medicare Advantage plans. These are over-the-counter COVID-19 tests that you take yourself at home.
Medicare pays for beneficiaries to obtain up to eight at-home COVD tests every month from participating pharmacies and suppliers.
Does Medicare Cover Antibody Tests?
Yes, Medicare Part B and all Medicare Advantage plans cover COVID-19 antibody tests. You will pay nothing for the tests during the public health emergency.
Antibody tests (or “serology” tests) determine if you have developed an immune response to a COVID-19 infection and may not be at an immediate risk of reinfection.
Does Medicare Cover Covid Testing at CVS or Walgreens?
Yes, Covid tests administered at CVS and Walgreens should be covered by Medicare. However, you should always ask the store pharmacist before your test is performed to confirm coverage.
Medicare covers COVID-19 over-the-counter tests at CVS, Walgreens and other pharmacies. You can explore the full list of pharmacies, which includes some of the following popular retail locations:
How Much Do Covid Tests Cost With Medicare?
Free Medicare COVID tests do not require any patient cost sharing, which means beneficiaries do not have to meet a deductible or pay any copayments or coinsurance to receive their COVID-19 test.
COVID-19 vaccine providers are not allowed to charge an administration fee to patients either. However, if any other health care services are performed during the same doctor’s office visit, you may be charged for those.
Some Medicare Advantage plans may reimburse for COVID tests after you pay up front for the test. All Medicare beneficiaries are encouraged to confirm their test coverage with their doctor or pharmacist prior to undergoing a test.
Are Vaccines Covered by Medicare Part B?
Yes, the COVID-19 vaccine is one of many vaccines that is covered by Medicare Part B and all Medicare Advantage plans. Coverage includes initial COVID-19 shots along with boosters and the updated COVID-19 vaccine.
Certain Medicare beneficiaries may be eligible to receive a vaccine in the comfort of their own home and have it covered by Medicare.